From Russia with Love…
Hello everyone!! First of all, we would like to apologize for not posting to the blog earlier. Internet is not exactly the strongest in the middle of Russia so we do not have a ton of access to it. We are on day 17 and the days are starting to go by faster and faster! Since we haven’t given you any updates so far, I will catch you all up to what we have been doing here in Cherepovets, Russia.
So, we are living and working at Camp Iskra, a children’s summer camp for kids ages 7-17. There’s roughly 300 kids at the camp and 100 of them are English students taking English classes at camp. That being said, there is a huge language barrier, especially with the younger kids who don’t understand that we don’t speak Russian. However, smiling and laughing is a universal language and if we are all having fun together, it doesn’t matter what language we all speak. Our team is the only team of Americans at the camp, and I honestly think the kids believe we are celebrities or something. We can’t get from one side of the camp to the other without at least a dozen “hello’s” from kids. They are all so precious.
About every morning, we begin the day with English classes. All of us were paired up with an English teacher and we help out in the classroom as “native English speakers”. We mainly pronounce words the kids are learning and sometimes get to teach the lessons. We have 3 classes a day and I think it’s safe to say that we are all becoming attached to our students. This first session of camp is over this Friday and it is going to be very hard saying goodbye to all of our new friends. After classes, our team prepares for an “English Club” that we put on every day. In English club, we play crazy games, sing songs in English, and just have fun with the English students. All the kids LOVE it and as exhausting as it is, it is totally worth it because everyone has a great time. After preparing, we have lunch. Russian camp food has definitely taken some time to get used to, but I think we are all adjusting. Didn’t realize how much I’d miss American food though! The rest of our days are filled up with camp activities and spending time with all the campers.
We have already been able to experience some pretty cool things at camp. Some things are:
“discos” with the kids at night
Volleyball and basketball with the counselors
Teaching the kids American baseball
Being a part of Camp Iskra’s 40th birthday and being on Russian tv (no joke)
Experiencing a Russian banya (a giant sauna room to relax in and be wacked with tree branches)
Camp Iskra is located right on the Mologa River (not sure if I spelled that correctly). Weather the past week has been absolutely beautiful so we have been swimming many times and have soaked up a lot of sun already. So Russian weather is not always cold and snowy!
This whole time that we have been here, none of us have been able to wrap our heads around the fact that WE ARE IN RUSSIA. Its so weird that we are literally in the middle of nowhere in a country on the opposite side of the world. It is just funny how God picked this specific camp for us to go to. There is obviously a reason why we are here, even though the reason itself may not be obvious, but we are excited to find out what that is. Right now, our job is to love everyone around us as much as we can. God is so good and we are so thankful to have the opportunity to come here and serve for the summer. It is the 4th of July today and most of us are beginning to miss our friends and family back at home. Thank you so much for all your prayers as we have been abroad! Please continue to pray for safety, health, energy (it is needed when surrounded by children all day), and that God will guide conversations we have with others in a way that will hopefully lead towards Him.
As I mentioned before, the first session of camp ends this Friday and then we have one more three-week session after that with all new campers. We will be taking a weekend trip to Moscow this weekend, which we are all very excited about! Hopefully we will post another update after we get back. We miss you all and hope everyone is enjoying their summer!